THE DC COMICS OFFICES 1982-1991 Part 2

666planKleinRevise3Continuing with the DC staff when the offices at 666 5th Avenue were first opened in December, 1982 and soon after, here’s my floor plan from that time, drawing on the memories of other staffers. It may well be wrong in some details, but is reasonably close in general.

666planKleinRevise3Here’s a closer look at the right half of the plan, which I’ll be covering next, moving right on the main hallway at the top.

ENelsonBridwell1978We don’t recall where long-time editor E. Nelson Bridwell sat when these offices opened, so I’ve put him in the first small office on the right of the main hall. This photo, found online, is probably from his office at 75 Rockefeller Plaza, and from the late 1970s. I designed the WORLD OF KRYPTON logo on his wall for the 1978 series. Nelson was a character, full of odd personality quirks, but a fount of knowledge on early DC comics and character histories. It’s possible Nelson may have already had an office in the area marked “New construction later,” the only place we remember him sitting. I don’t know when those offices were built, some may have already been there when we moved in.

DeGuzmanMoebusMary (Moebus) Yedlin, Licensing Coordinator, in a photo by Albert DeGuzman, had the window office on the left side of the hall opposite.

DeGuzman_MikeFlynn85
Seen here in a 1985 photo by DeGuzman, Promotion Manager Mike Flynn, like many staffers, reports he worked in several offices at 666 5th Avenue. He told me: “I don’t remember why I was moved three times in barely a year. I think it had to do with trying to keep the editorial and non-editorial departments together.” Mike says he was where I show him first, then near the entrance (where I have the Film Library, which would be after it moved), then where I have Neal Pozner. (That last placement conflicts with my own memory of Neal always being right opposite Production, so you can see the problem with conflicting memories.) Mike also wrote:

“For a good chunk of my time at 666 Fifth Avenue, my office was right next to Julie Schwartz’s. Every day I’d walk past his office—he was always in before I was—and I’d say, ‘Good morning, Julie!’ Without looking up from whatever he was reading, he’d say gruffly, ‘Prove it!’ And nothing else. I liked that.”

DeGuzman_Schwartz85Julius Schwartz by Albert DeGuzman, 1985.

Julie OfficeJulie Schwartz in his office, 1986, photo courtesy of Paul McCall who told me Julie sent it to him. On the wall are covers from some of Julie’s last projects, the line of Science Fiction Graphic Novels: HELL ON EARTH, NIGHTWINGS, FROST AND FIRE and MERCHANTS OF VENUS. Julie’s final SUPERMAN cover written by Alan Moore can also be seen. Through the window is part of Saint Thomas Church, across 53rd Street. Some of Julie’s awards are on the wall above his head, though I can’t identify them. This is Julie in casual summer mode.

Superman411SUPERMAN #411 cover © DC Comics.

We also have this illustration of the office by Dick Giordano from a special birthday tribute that was produced by the DC staff without Julie’s knowledge for his 70th birthday in 1985. Julie began working for All-American Comics in 1944, and when that company was combined with what is now DC, became an important editor credited with helping revive DC’s superheroes in the late 1950s, and initiating what’s now known as comics’ “Silver Age.” Julie’s office was also a great place to meet his science fiction writer friends like Ray Bradbury, Frederick Pohl and Harlan Ellison when they came to visit.

PhilJimenezNealPoznerIn the next window office was Neal Pozner, seen here in a photo by Phil Jimenez. Neal was DC’s first Design Director. Vince Colletta had the title Art Director previously, but did very little actual art directing from what I could tell. Neal was a comics fan, and had experience as a freelance designer before joining DC around 1980, I believe. He brought new design concepts and perfectionism to the job, and made great improvements to the overall look of DC’s covers and product in general.

DeGuzmanJudyFiremanJudy Fireman, seen here in a photo by DeGuzman, held the next small office for a brief time. According to Bob Greenberger, she had been hired by Jenette Kahn to sell books based on the DC library. Her one major sale was the “Super-Hero Super-Healthy Cookbook.”

DeGuzmanCondonTom Condon had that office next beginning some time in 1983. He handled contracts, and was brought in by Paul Levitz to help bring more business experience to the Editorial Department. Photo by DeGuzman.

Helfer_DCStaffRetreat1982Where the main hall divided was a group of offices for Joe Orlando’s Special Projects division. Andrew “Andy” Helfer was in an office there. He had been hired in May, 1980 to work part-time on Wonder Woman’s 40th Anniversary, then moved to Special Projects full time in Sept. 1980.

Manak1980-82His office was shared with Dave Manak. Dave had been a comics editor at 75 Rockefeller Plaza, the previous offices, but I believe switched over to working for Special Projects with the move to 666. Helfer went on to become a comics editor as well, and Dave moved on from DC a year or two later, returning to freelance work. For Orlando, both worked on comics for licensed properties like MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, custom comics for other companies, and other non-mainstream comics licensing projects. The black and white photo of Dave in his 75 Rock office was supplied by Howard Bender, the color images are from a 1982 staff photo I wrote about HERE.

Rozakis_CavalieriJoey Cavalieri by Bob Rozakis, 1985.

Another staffer working under Joe Orlando was Joey Cavalieri. I think he was already writing for DC when he joined the staff, probably around the time of the move to 666. I’m not sure where he sat, he may have shared the office with Helfer and Manak. Like Helfer, Joey later moved to Editorial and had two stints as an editor there for DC, with time at Marvel between.

BarryMarx85Barry Marx also worked on special projects under Joe Orlando beginning in 1984, seen here in a 1985 photo by DeGuzman. I don’t know where he sat. He may have replaced Dave Manak. Another Special Projects staffer in the early days of 666 was Connie Hatch.

DeGuzmanOrlandoShieldsTurning left one came to the office of Joe Orlando, seen here in an undated photo with Brooke Shields by Albert DeGuzman. Joe had one of the larger window offices accessed through the office of his assistant, Lucia Gorpfert. Joe had begun his comics career in the early 1950s as an artist for companies like EC, and had joined DC as an editor in 1968 where he brought new life to the company’s weird/mystery titles like HOUSE OF MYSTERY, and launched SWAMP THING. I’m not sure when he made the transition to Vice President in charge of Special Projects, but that was his role at the 666 offices. Joe also oversaw the Production Department.

DeGuzman_CunninghamGorpfert85Here’s Terri Cunningham with Joe Orlando’s assistant Lucia (Vieria) Goepfert in a 1985 photo by DeGuzman. I’m not sure when Terri joined Joe Orlando’s Special Projects team, but when she did, she sat in the next office down the hall. She’s seen here in a 1984 photo by DeGuzman. Terri was the project manager, I think. She later moved over to Editorial, becoming the Manager of Editorial Administration, another of those thankless jobs trying to keep everything on schedule. When she did that, Angelina Genduso moved from the business side to take her place and office.

 

TamsynOFlynn82Next to Terry was the Proofreader’s office, I believe originally held by Tamsyn O’Flynn, seen above in the 1982 staff photo. Other Editorial proofreaders were Robert Loren Fleming, soon a writer of the DC series THRILLER, and Brenda Pope. Later the proofreading job moved from Editorial to the Production Department, though in a separate office, and was held by Liz Flynn, Gary Race, and then Arlene Lo for decades.

DickGiordanoVice President – Executive Editor Dick Giordano had the other large window office, seen here in an undated photo found online. Dick had a long career as an editor beginning with Charlton Comics in the 1960s, as well as a reputation as one of the best inkers in comics. He had a first stint as editor at DC in the late 1960s to early 1970s, and returned as Executive Editor in 1981. Dick continued to ink comics for the company, mostly covers, while at 666 as well as overseeing the Editorial side.

DeGuzmanBastienneDick’s assistant was Pat Bastienne, seen here in a photo by Albert DeGuzman. Pat worked closely with Dick on art assignments for DC’s comics. Both Pat and Dick knew most of the artists in the business, and also made time to talk to new talent trying to break in.

DeGuzmanBerger83In the small office behind Pat Bastienne sat Karen Berger, seen here in a 1983 photo by DeGuzman. Karen handled lettering and coloring assignments originally, as well as editing some comics. Karen soon moved to a different office when that scheduling job was taken over by Pat Bastienne, becoming a full-time editor.

Rozakis_RaefordWhen Pat moved into that back office previously occupied by Karen, Alyce (Schuller) Raeford was hired to be the new secretary/assistant for both she and Dick Giordano, taking the front office where Pat had been. Photo by Bob Rozakis from 1985.

DeGuzmanWein83In the last window office, by the window, was editor Len Wein, seen here in a 1983 photo by DeGuzman. Len began writing comics for DC in 1968, and notably co-created SWAMP THING with Bernie Wrightson in 1971. He also wrote for Marvel Comics, and was an editor there in the mid 1970s. In 1978 he returned to DC as both a writer and editor through most of the 1980s.

DeGuzman_Cuti85Sharing Len’s office, and working on some titles as his assistant when 666 opened was Nicola “Nick” Cuti, seen here in a 1985 photo by DeGuzman. Nick had a long career as writer and editor, first for Charlton, then for Warren before joining DC, where he also wrote comics like SPANNER’S GALAXY. Nick later moved into the room next door with Wolfman and Colón.

MarvWolfman1982Marv Wolfman, 1982, photo by Alan Light.

The last office on the right end of the floor plan held three desks, and had probably the most shifts of personnel in the company, with editors moving in and out all the time, or sharing the space. Originally the first desk was for part-time editors or writer-editors like Marv Wolfman, above. Marv came into the office regularly, but not every day. Like his friend Len Wein, he’d also been an editor and writer for Marvel Comics in the 1970s after early writing sales to DC, and at 666 edited several titles, including some he wrote.

Colon_DCStaffRetreat1982The back desk in that office was originally held by Ernie Colón. Ernie joined DC as a Junior Editor in the spring of 1982, working with Marv, and by the time of the move to 666 was solo editing several titles for the company. He left staff around the end of 1983 for full-time freelance work, and was the regular artist on AMETHYST, PRINCESS OF GEMWORLD among other titles.

Roger_SliferRoger Slifer, date and source unknown.

Not long before the move from 75 Rockefeller Plaza, Roger Slifer was hired to be DC’s first Direct Sales Manager, and shared a cramped office with Mike Flynn and Bruce Bristow. Roger had been writing and editing at Marvel, and was probably recommended by his friends Len Wein and Marv Wolfman. He was a funny guy. One time, passing in the hall, I asked him, “What’s new, Roger?” He replied, “Brain’s full of old stuff, no room for new stuff.” Roger switched to the Editorial Department around the time of the move to 666 and worked in the shared office with Wolfman and Colón. He edited books like WORLD’S FINEST, with his first editor credit appearing on the May, 1983 issue. He also wrote THE OMEGA MEN for DC, a title I later took over as writer myself. I believe Roger left DC around May of 1984 for full-time freelance work.

KubertBoltinoffOther editors who only came into the offices one or two days a week, like Joe Kubert and Murray Boltinoff, above, probably used the first or middle desks or sat wherever there was an empty space.

ThomasConwayRoy Thomas, 1977 and Gerry Conway, undated

A few writer-editors like Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway lived far away and seldom visited DC, so didn’t need office space.

Carl_GaffordCarl Gafford, date and source unknown.

Carl Gafford, a colorist for DC, also did some editing from about April 1982 to early 1983. Bob Greenberger remembers him sitting in Len Wein’s office working as his assistant for a short time, Perhaps before Nick Cuti took that position.

Ross_Andru_(1977)Ross Andru, 1977, source unknown.

A prolific artist for DC, Ross Andru also edited several titles for the company beginning in 1979, and continuing until 1986. He may have used this office, though I mostly remember him sitting in the Production room when he came in.

Rozakis_HanniganArtist Ed Hannigan, shown here in a photo probably by Albert DeGuzman from 1985, began doing cover art for DC around the time of the move to 666, He did more and more as time went by, and then began doing cover designs/layouts for other artists as well. At some point he was given a  staff job as Cover Designer with office space in the New Construction area. I’m not sure where he sat.

RobinSnyder1981There are a few others I believe were on staff in the early days of DC at 666 5th Avenue that I can’t place in an office, like Robin Snyder, another assistant to Dick Giordano, as well as editors Dave Manak and Cary Burkett (at 75 Rock), seen here in a 1981 photo supplied by Howard Bender. There’s only so much we can remember about those days nearly 35 years ago!

To clarify the editorial staff assignments, I went through all the books cover-dated March 1983. Those would have been worked on mostly in November and December of 1982, when the offices at 666 5th Avenue opened. Here’s a rundown of editors and their books, as credited on the Grand Comics Database and the DC Wikia.

JULIUS SCHWARTZ: Action Comics, DC Comics Presents, The New Adventures of Superboy, Supergirl and Superman

JULIUS SCHWARTZ assisted by E. NELSON BRIDWELL: Weird War Tales (Nelson probably assisted on other Schwartz books too)

LEN WEIN: Camelot 3000, The New Teen Titans, Saga of the Swamp Thing

LEN WEIN assisted by NICOLA CUTI: All-Star Squadron, Batman, The Brave and the Bold, Detective Comics, Justice League of America.

ERNIE COLÓN: Arion Lord of Atlantis, The Flash, Green Lantern

MARV WOLFMAN: Blackhawk, Night Force, Wonder Woman, World’s Finest.

KAREN BERGER: House of Mystery, Legion of Super-Heroes

CARL GAFFORD: Adventure Comics

ROY THOMAS: Arak Son of Thunder, Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew

GERRY CONWAY: The Fury of Firestorm

MURRAY BOLTINOFF: G.I. Combat

ROSS ANDRU: Jonah Hex, The Warlord

JOE KUBERT: Sgt. Rock

BOB ROZAKIS, NICOLA CUTI AND CARL GAFFORD: The Best of DC (digest size)

Note that other titles not published that month are not included here.

We’ll continue next time with the Production Department, the area I remember best, as I worked there. Other parts of this article and more you might enjoy can be found on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

22 thoughts on “THE DC COMICS OFFICES 1982-1991 Part 2

  1. Bob Kahan

    There were a few folks who came on staff just prior to the move to 1325 Avenue of the Americas. I’m not entirely sure where we all were but I do recall that there wasn’t much space available. I came on board as the “floating” assistant editor a month before the move and my desk was (believe it or not) a cardboard box outside Dick Giordano’s office. Eddie Berganza, who started the same day as me was based in the copy room with Frank Pittarese. I’m not sure where Patty Jeres sat because she was always on the move.

  2. Mark Evanier

    The photo of Marv Wolfman is from a batch of vintage convention photos taken by Alan Light. The whole set should be findable somewhere online.

  3. Kurt Busiek

    >> This photo, found online, is probably from his office at 75 Rockefeller Plaza, and from the late 1970s. >>

    My (possibly-faulty) memory is that, at least in May 1982, Nelson was slightly down the hall and on the opposite side from Julie, in the 75 Rock offices, and didn’t have a window. That’s when I first met him and I remember his office feeling like a closet. I don’t remember exactly where he was at the Tishman Building, but I don’t think he had a window there, either.

    Could that be a photo of him at Julie’s desk?

  4. Todd Post author

    It’s unlikely the logo would be there if it was Julie’s desk. This may be when Julie and Nelson shared an office at 75 Rock.

  5. Nick Caputo

    Todd,

    I seem to recall Bridwell always being in the “new construction area”, adjacent to the rooms where Boltinoff, Kubert, and perhaps Robert Kanigher had space. I’ll pass your post onto Robin Snyder, perhaps he’ll can fill-in details of where he resided.

  6. Brian Augustyn

    I came to DC as an associate editor in ’87, after Nelson had passed on, but I recall that the small windowless office across from Julie (between production and the door to the lobby) being pointed out as once being his. The reason for this being that Bridwell had left a old, scruffy cardigan sweater hanging on the back of the door–and it was still there. This was referred to as “the shroud of Nelson” in typical office snark. At least part of the reason for the title was that when the sweater was removed after years, it left a pale ghostly imprint of its shape on tje door, having blocked
    dirt and light for so long. For what it’s worth.

    I’m enjoying the blog, keep up the great work!

  7. Todd Post author

    Thanks, Brian. You’re coming up in a future chapter. I have a somewhat different version of your Nelson story coming up too, but placed in another office further back.

  8. Phil Nixon

    Being an avid collector of DC comics at the time and only being 16 and living in the UK, it’s great to put faces to names I’ve only seen in creator boxes. I’m loving this series as much as the comics I read in those days.

  9. Mike Flynn

    The shot of Joe Orlando and Brooke Shields can reasonably easily be reduced to the exact month. I wrote the MEANWHILE… column for that visit, so just take the cover date of those books, subtract (two months, I think it was then?) and there you go.

  10. Brian Stanley

    Todd,
    Fascinating to learn more about how the comics I enjoyed were being produced at the time.
    I’m curious about the layout of Dick Giordano’s office. Did he ink in there or was his set up just as the other executives ?

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